CLEARWATER, Fla. — Phillies outfield prospect Roman Quinn has not played shortstop since 2014. And when he did, he struggled, amassing 61 errors in 149 games in the low minors from 2012-14. But that has not stopped Gabe Kapler from trying to see if Quinn can now handle the position as the Phillies try to build a versatile roster with players who can move around the diamond.
“I don’t think it’s harmful for him to take some reps on the infield to see what we have there,” Kapler said. “I also don’t think it’s harmful if we get him some looks there just to see.”
The Phillies will likely enter the season with a four-man bench as they carry an extra relief pitcher. Quinn, 24, is in the mix for the final spot. He batted .274 with a .344 on-base percentage in 45 games last season at triple A before suffering an elbow injury. He has been riddled by injuries and has yet to play a full season.
Kapler has thought all winter of finding a way to keep Quinn healthy. A bench role, a spot where Kapler can fully manage Quinn’s usage, could be the perfect fit. He can play all three outfield positions and would give the Phillies a needed burst of speed. His ability to play the infield would add another layer and the Phillies are at least interested to find out. Kapler said the team is waiting to see how Quinn handles infield drills before committing to playing him in a Grapefruit League game once they begin.
“He’s an incredible athlete,” Kapler said. “He’s very, very gifted going to his left. He’s very explosive. He’s got all the athletic capability to handle ground balls and to make plays. So I think we’d foolish not to look under that stone.”
Mark Leiter Jr. is now wearing No. 31, the same number his father wore when he pitched for the Phillies in 1997-98. He wore No. 59 last year… Kapler said no Phillies pitcher began camp with limitations.